This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Catherine Lynn Doege,
Filed July 31, 2001
Wright County District Court
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Natalie E. Hudson, Assistant
Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Thomas N. Kelly, Wright County Attorney, 10 Northwest Second Street, Buffalo, MN 55313 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Scott G. Swanson, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
On appeal from a conviction for conspiracy to commit first-degree controlled substance crime, appellant argues that she was denied her right to a speedy trial when she was not tried until five months after a speedy trial demand, where the delay was attributable to scheduling problems along with a Rule 20 psychological evaluation to which appellant agreed. We affirm.
On April 5, 1999, Catherine Lynn Doege was charged with conspiracy to commit controlled substance crime in the first degree and aiding and abetting the commission of controlled substance offense in the first degree. A jury trial, held from August 30, 1999 to September 2, 1999, resulted in a mistrial when it was discovered that several jurors had discussed the case before formal deliberation. The trial was then delayed until December 6, 1999, because a key witness for the state was unavailable. On November 24, 1999, Doege demanded a speedy trial pursuant to Minn. R. Crim. P. 11.10.
On December 6, 1999, Doege’s counsel moved the court for a continuance based on a conversation with the psychiatric unit at the prison where Doege was incarcerated; this conversation raised doubts about Doege’s ability to assist in her own defense. Accordingly, the district court granted the motion and ordered a Rule 20 evaluation, with a review hearing in 90 days. On February 16, 2000, the evaluating physician determined that Doege was competent to stand trial. On April 17, 2000, Doege’s counsel withdrew the Rule 20 motion and renewed the speedy trial demand. Several trial dates were then discussed; defense counsel was not available for trial until May 15, 2000, on that day the parties agreed to submit the case to the district court on stipulated facts pursuant to State v. Lothenbach,296 N.W.2d 854, 858 (Minn. 1980). On May 24, 2000, the district court found Doege guilty as charged, and this appeal followed.
Doege argues that her right to a speedy trial was violated. This court reviews the district court’s decision denying a motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds under an abuse of discretion standard. See State v. Friberg,435 N.W.2d 509, 515 (Minn. 1989).
To determine whether a delay in any given case has violated an accused’s right to a speedy disposition, this court uses the balancing test announced by the United States Supreme Court in Barker v. Wingo,407 U.S. 514, 530-33, 92 S. Ct. 2182, 2192-93 (1972). State v. Windish,590 N.W.2d 311, 315 (Minn. 1999). This test requires the court to consider: (1) the length of the delay; (2) the reason for the delay; (3) whether the defendant asserted her right; and (4) prejudice to the defendant. Id. Although Doege clearly asserted her right, no single factor is determinative. Rather, all are related and “must be considered together with such other circumstances as may be relevant.” Id.(quotation omitted).
Doege argues that the delay between her initial speedy trial demand and when the case was ultimately heard compels reversal of her conviction. We disagree.
A defendant in Minnesota must be tried within 60 days of demanding a trial unless good cause is shown for the delay. Minn. R. Crim. P. 11.10. A delay of more than 60 days between demand and trial is presumptively prejudicial and requires further inquiry. Friberg,435 N.W.2d at 512. Here the delay was almost six months. But the district court does not abuse its discretion by delaying a trial beyond the 60-day limit where the record supports a finding of good cause. McIntosh v. Davis,441 N.W.2d 115, 119-20 (Minn. 1989). Delay attributable to a defendant does not weigh in the defendant’s favor. Windish,590 N.W.2d at 316.
This trial was first delayed for three weeks when the state requested a continuance because a key witness was unavailable. It was further delayed, however, for over four months when defense counsel requested an evaluation to determine Doege’s competency to proceed. This evaluation constitutes good cause for delaying her trial. In addition, after Doege was determined competent to proceed and the speedy trial demand was renewed, defense counsel notified the court that he would not be available until almost a month later. Therefore, the vast majority of the delay is either for good cause or properly attributed to the actions of the defense.
The final factor in the balancing analysis requires a determination of whether the defendant suffered prejudice as a result of the delay. In this context, we recognize three interests protected by the right to a speedy trial: (1) preventing oppressive pretrial incarceration; (2) minimizing the accused’s anxiety and concern, and (3) preventing the possibility of an impaired defense. Id. The third factor, impairment of a defendant’s defense, is considered the most serious. Id.
In this case, Doege was already incarcerated on conviction for another offense. Although she was no doubt anxious and concerned while awaiting trial, the delay failed to impair her defense. She did not testify on her own behalf, nor did the defense call any witnesses at trial. In fact, the case was ultimately submitted to the court on stipulated facts.